Ever since seeing Mickalene Thomas‘ eye-catching portraits and colorful collages a few years ago, I’ve been captivated by her work.
That’s why I was surprised, yet thrilled to learn that the acclaimed visual artist’s latest masterpiece wouldn’t be adorned with her signature sparkly rhinestones or vibrant patterns affixed on wood panels, but instead would be a heartfelt story told through film.
“Happy Birthday To A Beautiful Woman,” is Mickalene’s first film project and will premiere tonight on HBO. The docu-short is a touching, semi-sad, celebratory ode to her mother,”Mama Bush,” who is also the subject and inspiration behind many of her portraits.
Mickalene’s undeniable creativity is showcased throughout the film as she allows photographs, music and cinematography to serve as powerful storytellers alongside her mother’s gripping recounts of dreams deferred, abuse, and addiction. Her story of struggle and overcoming adversity is universal, which is why this piece is sure to resonate with everyone, especially women.
“Happy Birthday to a Beautiful Woman,” premieres tonight, February 24 on HBO at 9PM EST.
I had the pleasure and privilege to speak with Mickalene about the film, her mother and more. Check out the interview below:
BGG: So it was easy for you to decide on “Happy Birthday to a Beautiful Woman,” as the title, right?
MT: It was really easy because as I mentioned, she put it on her cake for her 50th birthday party. During her party, I had taken a photograph of the cake. When I was filming her at her house, I saw that she had it framed and put it on her nightstand. It was then that I realized that the title was already there for me to use.